|Photo by Paul Schadler, Creative Commons|
I came across this article the other day from a blog that covers personal branding topics: "Appreciating Criticism Doesn't Make You a Doormat! Embrace It." Everyone knows that personal branding is one of the important keys to success (however you personally define success). It's necessary for the recording artists I work with who are in a highly competitive industry, and it's necessary for job seekers who are currently in a highly competitive job market.
Part of what I teach my clients in our coaching sessions on personal branding and interviewing is how to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. Of course we also cover how to emphasize your strengths as part of your brand, but it's important to take the time to face your weaknesses. One reason is in order to know who you are, you also have to know who you aren't since no one can be all things to all people. Knowing your limits helps you to make better decisions about what direction in which to move forward. It would be a waste of time and energy to head down a path that would require skills in the area or areas where you have weaknesses.
Also, another reason why it's important to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses is that it helps you to overcome your insecurities. If you can learn to do what this article says, to be objective about yourself and your weaknesses, it makes you stronger. It also makes you less defensive and less sensitive when others point your weaknesses out to you. Many of my clients are recording artists who are in an industry where they have to face a lot of rejection. If they aren't able to toughen up a bit and learn to be realistic about their weaknesses, they won't last very long in this industry and success will elude them. The same is true for people in a tough job market. It's a job market where job seekers are facing a lot of rejection. If they choose to be a victim instead of being appreciative of the criticism they receive through the job search process, their job search is doomed. But if they embrace the criticism for what it is (something constructive instead of personal), then they are on their way to finding the job that is right for them. (Note: this principle doesn't just apply in your career, but also in your personal life and your relationships with others.)
I hope you take the time to read the full article, but most importantly I encourage you to focus on the four benefits of criticism it highlights for personal growth and the two strategies for accepting and benefiting from criticism. Criticism doesn't have to be something viewed as negative or bad. Instead, it could be the key to unlocking the success (in both your professional and your personal life) that has been eluding you for so long.
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